Organizers for the Maine Readers’ Choice Award have announced the 10 book titles under consideration for this year’s award, which recognizes the best in adult fiction published in the United States the previous year.
This year’s list includes “Benediction” by Kent Haruf, “Ordinary Grace” by William Kent Krueger, “Tenth of December” by George Saunders, “The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope” by Rhonda Riley, “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt, “The Golem and the Jinni” by Helene Wecker, “The Hired Man” by Aminatta Forna, “The Silver Star” by Jeannette Walls, “TransAtlantic” by Colum McCann and “Visitation Street” by Ivy Pochoda.
“The books we’re considering as finalists for this year’s award range from fantasy to realism. They share a compelling readability. We’ll have books we are proud to recommend to everyone from this list,” said Debbie Taylor, member of the Maine Readers’ Choice Award Committee and book buyer for Sherman’s Book Stores.
The Maine Readers’ Choice Award was established by the Maine State Library and the Maine Library Association. To be considered, books must be fiction published in the U.S. during the previous year. The titles must be well written, appealing to a wide audience, with a compelling story that keeps the reader interested.
Nominations come from the library and booksellers’ communities across Maine. The panel received 141 title recommendations in the past year.
With the list now narrowed to 10, the Readers’ Choice Award Committee will read each of the titles under consideration and will reconvene in May to narrow the list to three finalists.
Maine residents choose the winner when the three titles selected as finalists are advanced to libraries and bookstores for a readers’ choice vote in September. Maine readers can vote online at mainereaderschoiceaward.org and the award winner will be announced in October.
The aim of this award is to increase awareness and reading of literary fiction, honoring books that exhibit exceptional writing and a compelling story that encourages reading and conversation among individuals and in Maine’s communities.
The Maine Readers’ Choice Award Committee is made up of librarians, authors, and book lovers. The group meets several times in the course of the year to narrow in on the finalists. The process involves a lot of reading, conversation, and occasional contention.
“We had furious differences and soul-matching similarities and arrived at our two finalists after much delightful discussion,” said Monica Wood, committee member and author of “We Were the Kennedys.” “I don’t love all the books on this list — in fact, I loathe one of them; but I love how eclectic it is, reflecting the wide variety of readers’ tastes.”
The 2013 winner of the MRCA was Wiley Cash for his debut novel “A Land More Kind Than Home.”
“The range of stories has been great, making it difficult to narrow the list down,” said Mamie Anthoine Nye, committee member and director of Auburn Public Library. “The book discussions have been lively — akin to being in a very unique book club. It’s been a privilege to work with librarians, booksellers, and reading advocates to encourage Mainers to read and discuss great books.”
To see the full list of titles considered by the Maine Readers’ Choice Award Committee or learn more about the award process, visit mainereaderschoiceaward.org.